Adventure: Small Car in South America
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the iconic Mini Cooper, intrepid traveler Ben Coombs has planned an unprecedented venture involving the classic vehicle; journeying to an altitude almost 20,000 feet above sea level.
Coombs has a great deal of experience journeying across long distances, having completed numerous trips. Among his achievements, he has driven from the top to the bottom of the Americas in a TVR and traversed Africa in a Porsche, giving him an extensive understanding of the challenges which such difficult trips involve.
He sets out for his Mini Cooper odyssey with the aim of eclipsing the personal best he achieved driving a TVR Chimaera up to an elevation of 15,420 feet in the Bolivian Altiplano. His desire is to explore a route to hit his audacious target with his petite vehicle, however with the gadgets decked out on the car, he’s equipped to deviate from the normal course.
Whilst roads on the Tibetan Plateau came close to the desired altitude he had in mind, he eventually determined that Chile and Peru – both in South America – were more suitable. These regions are home to elevated volcanoes with existing mine trails; the Aucanquilcha Stratovolcano, for instance, has a dirt track reaching an impressive 20,262 feet above sea level.
The 1974 Mini 1000, while not ideal for an overlanding venture, showcases several improvements designed to allow for a more successful off-roading experience, such as a tailor-made roof tent. Usually pickups are the go-to option for such trips; however, the small companion model gives an original take on touring with its lack of size and low ground clearance. Coombs has been the proud owner for sixteen years and undertook a thorough three-year restoration plan in order to get the car ready for the journey that lies ahead.
Four individuals will join forces for the voyage, with a 1990 Range Rover accompanying the modest Mini on the extended excursion ahead. These two automobiles were dispatched from England in mid-October and are now residing in Uruguay, prepared to commence their trip to the Andes.
“The world’s highest pint” is the challenge that Mini Cooper has set out to conquer. To give the journey a unique twist, the Mini Cooper has been fitted with a beer tap – filled with an IPA called Mini6000. This beer tap will be used to pour the world’s highest pint. The Mini Cooper will be taking a trip to the highest point of the UK, Ben Nevis, located in Scotland. The challenge is to pour a pint of Mini6000 IPA at the summit, which stands at 1,345 metres above sea level. The Mini6000 beer is a special edition, brewed in partnership with the local craft brewery, Innis & Gunn. It has been designed to taste great even at high altitudes. If the challenge is successful, the Mini Cooper will have earned its place in the Guinness World Records and become the world’s highest pint.
The fact-filled vacation journey is gaining backing from many organizations such as Classicline Insurance, Somerford Mini, and Pub2Pub Adventures – the last one being Coomb’s own journey-based business.